Where's the book?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Rare non-fiction: #14

I don't often read non-fiction, because it doesn't offer the escapist joy of fiction. I find it interesting, but not gripping enough (usually) to really do what the "frigate like a book" can do. But I was telling a friend about how much I enjoyed Life After Life, particularly the lengthy section of the book set in London during the Blitz. It was such a powerful and moving time (in the book and in life, of course). The friend said, "Have you read this?" and offered me a copy of Lynne Olson's Citizens of London, a non-fiction account of the wartime alliance between Britain and the United States, told through the stories of three important American players in London at that time: the head of CBS News in Europe Edward R. Murrow, Lend-Lease director Averell Harriman, and the U.S. Ambassador to Britain John Gilbert Winant.

I had heard of Harriman and Murrow, of course, but amazingly had never heard of Winant, who was the book's most compelling personality, as well as being perhaps the key American in London both before and during the war. Shy, idealistic, incredibly admirable, his story was fascinating, sad, and deeply moving. 

I enjoyed the book, and learned a great deal (let's hope some of it gets retained!) but it wasn't a book I ran to pick up when I had some reading time. I think Olson is an excellent writer, so I don't blame her. I think it's just my fiction predilection (love the rhyme).

No comments:

Post a Comment